Free Methodist World Missions is deeply grateful for Marjorie (Carlson) Parsons’ 17 years of dedicated service to her Lord through the Free Methodist Church (FMC) in Asia. We celebrate her life – a life used of God to touch the lives of countless others.
Marjorie was born on a farm near Caldwell, Idaho of Swedish-American ancestry. Her home church was the Deer Flat Free Methodist Church in Caldwell where she received Christ as Savior in the eighth grade. She married Elmer Parsons of Cloverland, Washington in August of 1942.
In a letter dated January 6, 1947, Marjorie was appointed to missionary service in China by the Free Methodist Church General Missionary Board. Marjorie, along with her husband and 16-month-old son (Karl) boarded the SS Marine Adder, a converted Marine troopship, on August 8, 1947. Their total family fare was $425 and would take them from San Francisco, California to Shanghai, China.
Their assignment was to teach in the Northwest Bible Institute in Xian, China. However, the civil war in China prevented the Parsons from taking this post. Language studies, numerous moves, the birth of a second son (James), the loss of nearly all their possessions and eventually their refugee status in Hong Kong marked their first two years as missionaries.
The Parsons moved to Japan in 1949, where they soon were studying the language, teaching and preaching. They also helped to rebuild the bombed-out Bible school which became Osaka Christian College. Marjorie was later a professor of English at Osaka Christian College. She was also involved in teaching Christian education, conducting prayer meetings, teaching Bible classes, home visitations and organizing large gatherings for Christian women.
In 1954, the Parsons family returned to the United States but in 1964, prompted by an urgent request, they returned to Japan. Marjorie and Elmer served in Japan 10 additional years, returning to the States in 1974.
Free Methodist World Missions (FMWM) Asia Area Director Eric Spangler writes, “With selfless service, Marjorie Parsons has inspired generations of followers to faithful service with her dedication to Jesus’ mission in Asia, and with love for her Savior. We give the Father thanks for her life, for her example, and for the changed lives that saw the pathway to the cross more clearly because of her service to the people of Japan.”
Rev. David Yardy, former Asia Area Director, remembers how Marjorie and Elmer gave to others in such practical ways. Marjorie worked alongside Elmer as he was the first Asia Area Director. They opened their home and visited many missionaries throughout Asia.
On June 25, 2017, Marjorie Parsons went to be with her Savior, becoming part of the rich legacy of those who have served through Free Methodist World Missions. Her decision to follow Jesus to the ends of the earth has borne eternal fruit.
Rev. Gerry Coates
Director of Global Church Advocacy
Free Methodist World Missions